Our DofE Awards Manager, Mr Myers-Allen, wrote upon hearing the news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing: “There will be many legacies left by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and none more so than the inspirational youth organisation.”
Mr Myers-Allen knows of what he speaks, having coordinated the programme here for many years. He continued: “We are one of the most successful advocates of DofE and we will remain in that position for years to come. Over 6,000 pupils at Framlingham College have achieved either Bronze, Silver or Gold.”
But following a year in which group activities and socialising for young people has been prohibited, it seems there is greater need than ever for the resilience the DofE scheme uniquely offers young people. The scheme was launched in 1956 by Prince Philip and he famously described it as a: ‘do-it-yourself growing up kit’. Now, more than half a century later, with studies showing that the pandemic has had an impact on mental health and self-confidence for many young people, the DofE programme has greater relevance than ever.
Dr Bernadka Dubicka, chair of the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “As a frontline psychiatrist I’ve seen the effect that school closures, caused by the pandemic, has had on our children and young people.”
It seems that while there is a real focus on restoring positive health to young people and bringing fresh confidence to many who may feel disillusioned, the Duke of Edinburgh scheme has a significant role to play.
Following the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, Ruth Marvel, the scheme’s CEO, told Sky News: “The Duke’s timeless vision for young people has never been more relevant or needed. The DofE has played a crucial role in supporting young people to survive and thrive despite the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, and we will continue to build on his legacy.”
Nowhere is this truer than here at Framlingham College.
One of our DofE Ambassadors, Mimi Salsby, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme has played an integral part in the development of my life skills. It has encouraged me to take responsibility in unfamiliar conditions and apply those skills throughout all my expeditions. The award scheme also provides an opportunity to be involved in as many aspects of both school and general life as possible which has enabled me to cultivate my capabilities and progress further. I have managed to discover many new interests and strengthen my resilience, leadership skills and perseverance.”
For Mr Myers-Allen, Prince Philip’s death at 99 was felt acutely, as the two men had met on several occasions. He said: “I have had the honour of meeting HRH The Duke of Edinburgh several times, as have many of our pupils who achieved their Gold Awards. His infectious enthusiasm for the activity never faltered and his leadership will be sorely missed.”
Sign-ups for the Duke of Edinburgh scheme have already increased following Prince Philip’s death and here at Framlingham College expeditions for the upcoming term are already being planned.
Following a year like no other in which young people have, in many cases, struggled immeasurably, it seems the Duke of Edinburgh’s true legacy may well be the impact the DofE scheme has in restoring self-belief to a generation of young people even after his death.
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